Lectures & Presentations

Dispatches from the Gulf 2: Research*Innovation*Discovery

Date and Time: Tuesday, June 18, 2019. Film begins at 7:00 p.m. followed immediately by a panel discussion at 8:00.
Price: $16 per person
Location: Discovery Center, Savannah Room
Parking: Discovery Center Lot

Dispatches-image-2-(1).PNGThis one-hour documentary hosted and narrated by Matt Damon invites audiences to discover the impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster through the eyes of a cadre of scientists working together to better understand and mitigate the fall-out from the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. This presentation includes a screening of Dispatches from the Gulf 2 followed by a panel discussion of the film by six Marine Mammal experts. Dispatches from the Gulf 2 shares remarkable stories from the scientific mission to study the continuing impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and find new ways to ease the devastation. The film features post-spill issues such as: Why are so many bottlenose dolphins dying? Why haven’t Louisiana’s oysters fully recovered? What are the long-term health effects on giant creatures like the six-gill shark? Is it possible to forecast where and when oil will go after a deep ocean spill?

View the "Dispatches 2" trailer here


Cynthia Smith, DVM, is the Executive Director for the National Marine Mammal Foundation, and an established marine mammal clinician and clinical research scientist with more than 100 publications, including peer-reviewed scientific articles (>45) and published proceedings (>65) on topics such as dolphin pulmonary, reproductive, renal, infectious, and metabolic diseases. She was the lead veterinarian on the marine mammal injury assessment for the DWH oil spill.

Kathleen Colegrove, DVM, PhD, Dip ACVP (University of Illinois), is an associate professor at the Zoological Pathology Program, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, housed at the Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo. Dr. Colegrove is a board certified veterinary pathologist with over 15 years of experience in marine mammal pathology collaborating with a number of leading marine mammal institutions and government agencies. She was lead pathologist for the 2010-2014 Northern Gulf of Mexico Unusual Mortality Event and for marine mammal injury assessment for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill conducting histopathologic assessment on hundreds of cetaceans that died following the spill.

Lori Schwacke, PhD, is Chief Scientist for the National Marine Mammal Foundation’s Conservation Medicine Division, and the Director of the Consortium for Advanced Research on Marine Mammal Health Assessments (CARMMHA). CARMMHA is a multidisciplinary consortium, including researchers from 10 institutions with expertise in veterinary medicine, marine biology, statistics and mathematical modeling, and wildlife epidemiology. Her research career has focused on the connections among wildlife health, human health, and the health of our oceans. She co-led multiple collaborative field projects to assess effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on nearshore bottlenose dolphins as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment, and also led the team of statisticians and mathematicians that developed models to predict the long-term impacts of the spill on Gulf of Mexico marine mammal populations.

Teresa Rowles, PhD, directs NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program which coordinates the national stranding and entanglement response network for cetaceans and pinnipeds in the U.S., the marine mammal health surveillance program and investigations of unusual mortality events. The program involves multiple partners at both the national and international levels which work together to identify causes of morbidity and mortality in marine mammal populations. These studies include evaluation of outbreaks, anthropogenic sound, chemical pollution, ship strikes, entanglement, marine debris and natural events (i.e., extreme weather events).

Sylvain De Guise, DMV, PhD, is a Professor of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science at the University of Connecticut, where he leads an active research program in comparative immunology and immunotoxicology of aquatic species. De Guise has over 30 years of experience in research with marine mammals, with more recent projects in oysters, lobsters and fish. De Guise’s research has resulted in 99 peer reviewed publications and 7 book chapters, in addition to numerous abstracts at relevant conferences, while serving as major advisors for 13 MS and PhD students. De Guise also serves as Director of the Connecticut Sea Grant College Program, where he oversees research, outreach and education relevant to coastal and marine issues.

Randall Wells, PhD, Vice President of Marine Mammal Conservation for the Chicago Zoological Society, is the Director and co-founder (in 1970) of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, the world’s longest-running study of a wild dolphin population. Long-term research on health, ecology, behavior, life history, and human interactions has established the resident Sarasota Bay bottlenose dolphins as a reference population. Sarasota Bay also serves as a site for developing, testing, and/or refining research approaches and methodologies, including capture-release health assessments and telemetry for small cetaceans. Wells has been senior or co-author on more than 250 peer-reviewed marine mammal publications, including four books.

Have questions? Contact the Education Department at adventuresinlearning@czs.org!

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Brookfield Zoo has developed many tools to assist educators in sharing information about animals, science, and caring - the things that form the basis of conservation at the zoo and in the wild. We encourage educators to use the information gathered by the zoo to share concepts about data gathering and scientific research, and to use the zoo's charismatic animals to help inspire excitement for learning. Be informed, entertained, and engaged by special classes just for teachers. Plus you can earn PDCHs and optional graduate credit through Dominican University.



The Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) is a conservation-focused, inquiry-driven learning experience that combines web-based graduate courses through Miami University with exciting face-to-face experiential and field study at Brookfield Zoo. Students in this national degree program contribute to social and ecological change in their communities. The opportunity to earn credits from international travel is another exciting part of the program. And the best news of all – it’s affordable!